Chairman's Report: Honoring the past, looking to the future
It is with sadness that we mark the passing of the first president of the Sioux Falls Development Foundation, Dave Stenseth. So many of the accomplishments for which the Development Foundation is known for—the Sioux Empire Development Parks, EROS, Citibank’s Sioux Falls location—happened during his watch, thanks to his tireless work on behalf of this community. Our condolences to Dave’s family and his many friends throughout the state.
While we honor the past, we also can look with confident excitement to the future. Two big announcements made recently will have a major impact on the development of our community and our economy in the years ahead. SAB Biotherapeutics, a groundbreaking biotech company that has partnered with the Development Foundation, is conducting Phase I Clinical Trials for its human antibody treatment for MERS-CoV. The goal of the study—sponsored, funded and conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH)—is to evaluate the dosage and safety of this new therapeutic. Eddie Sullivan, SAB President and CEO, says that this is a significant milestone for the company, with the NIH considering SAB’s technology as “one of the rapid response defenses potentially useful against MERS and other emerging infectious diseases such as Ebola and even Zika.” For this to be happening in Sioux Falls is a major event for the future of biotech in South Dakota.
Other big news is the awarding of a $755,000 grant from the US Economic Development Administration (EDA) for infrastructure development in the USD Discovery District, an 80-acre corporate and academic research park under development in Sioux Falls. This public-private partnership is an effort between the University of South Dakota, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development, the City of Sioux Falls, the Board of Regents and the business community through Forward Sioux Falls. Matching funds totaling $895,000 from the State of South Dakota and Forward Sioux Falls have already been secured, and the EDA grant means construction plans can move ahead at the Discovery District, putting us closer to getting this vital link in our entrepreneurial future open for business.
Beyond these two announcements, the Development Foundation is re-focusing efforts on two major fronts; first, land sales and development within our parks. So far this year we have sold land in Sioux Empire Development Parks VII and VIII to growing companies. Interstate Office Products purchased 2.75 acres; Worthington Ag, 3 acres, and Titan Machinery 12 acres. In addition, we are initiating a process for receipt of sealed bids before September 17, 2016, on the Campus Crossing retail development, five parcels immediately adjacent to Walmart North.
On the other major front, Workforce Development, Lon Clemensen will join us as VP of Work Force Development, starting September 19. Lon’s list of new ideas and concepts will enhance our local workforce, by growing both the quality and viability in support of local companies and incoming prospects. We want to do that by improving wages where necessary and improving both the workers' quality of life and long-term conditions of employment.
Vital to our success is the support and leadership received from the Forward Sioux Falls 2021 Campaign. With our dedicated board, excellent staff and FSF support, we’re making a difference for our future. These are dramatic times for Sioux Falls. Together, we’re working to continue our momentum in this new century.
By Dale Froehlich